Harald picked Anika up from Tanja's house and then we drove to Dibbersen, where the reception would be held.
At first, I thought I might be spared smoke, since I saw people outside the door smoking and there were no ash-trays on the tables. However, that later turned out not to be the case; ash-trays were at the bar and people picked one up and brought it to the table.
Andrea (Anika's and Tanja's mother) suggested that Stella and I sit at a table with her parents, not far from Tanja. Stella was a bit unsure because she had heard that those tables were for family and that friends were to sit at other tables, but Andrea said not to worry.
That table ended up with nine people, all Church members, so (a) no smoking on that table, which was something, and (b) I knew all of them, which was also rather pleasant. (Patrizia, Tanja's aunt, and Andreas; Brother and Sister Mössner, Tanja's maternal grandparents; Brother and Sister Winterstein; one of the twins, Tanja's brother; and Stella and I. Incidentally, Wintersteins and we were the only non-relatives Tanja invited from our church ward.)
The evening started with a Big Band playing, including Tanja: she plays what I think is a "baritone saxophone"—at any rate, a sax which has a longer neck than usual. Three other saxophones, two trombones, two trumpets, keyboard, bass guitar, electrical guitar, and drumset. They played two or three pieces with CD music in between. Franziska, who lives below Anika and Harald, also played saxophone (and showed up five minutes late while the rest were in the middle of the first piece :D).
At eight (the reception had started at seven), Kai walked up to the front with Tanja and Leon and welcomed the guests, thanked them for coming, and said that the buffet was open.
The next while was people eating and drinking. They had quite an interesting selection of food in a side room.
After a while, the Big Band played another couple of pieces and then they were done.
Anika had said that she'd be going home twice and could take us home either time if we wanted, and Harald had previously said that if we wanted to go home, we should tell him, and he'd drive us home any time. That was a nice offer, since I generally don't like staying up very late and Stella doesn't particularly appreciate my mood the next morning, either.
The first time Anika was going to go home was when the band was through playing, since Franziska would be looking after Vanessa and Leon for the night and could only do so when the band was done, obviously; then Anika would go home, put Vanessa and Leon to bed, put the finishing touches on Tanja's surprise, and come back. The second time would be when she had enough.
When it looked as if the band were finished, I decided it would be nice to leave since I was getting rather tired, so I asked Anika whether she was leaving now and she said, soon, and promised to tell me before she left.
Ten minutes later, Harald came up to us and said that he was going and would Stella be coming along as well; I said yes. I took leave of Tanja and thanked her for the invitation; she said she was happy we had been able to come. She had looked very happy during the reception, which made me happy as well. I especially liked how she obviously enjoyed playing her instrument in front of other people.
Since we didn't all fit in the car (since Franziska was there as well), Anika said good-bye to us and said she'd be going in another car with someone else. I called Franziska "Francesca" out of playfulness, and she reacted unexpectedly—"Oh, how I like that name. I wish I were called Francesca and not Franziska." Interesting :)
Harald dropped Francesca^WFranziska off at their home and brought her up, then came back and drove us home.
About the first thing Stella and I did was take off all our clothes, wash briefly, and put on new ones that didn't smell of smoke. That's one thing I don't much like about going out in public places to dance or eat or meet: the smoke clinging in your clothes and hair. After I had changed clothes I still smelled of smoke and so decided to wash my hair as well.
After that, I blow-dried my hair myself for the first time in years :). I used not to like doing that because my hair usually flies every which way when I do it myself and ends up looking strange, with no coherent shape. On the other hand, when I wash my hair last thing at night, it ends up looking weird the next morning anyway, so I decided to do it so that it would dry more quickly, especially since my hair is getting longer.
I looked up bus and train times to meet Debora today, synced my PDA, read on it for ten minutes until the batteries went flat and stuck it in the cradle to recharge overnight. Then to bed.